IDC estimates that spending on digital transformation will reach $1.7 trillion worldwide by the end of 2019, as businesses deploy new technologies and become more data-driven. However, one of the biggest challenges to organisations reaping the full benefits of digital transformation is that the technologies that underpin many of their data processes have not been designed for today’s multichannel digital world. For organisations to thrive in this new data-driven world, they need to be able to collaborate efficiently. However, the threats of cyber-attacks and data leaks is making them extra cautious and adding unnecessary roadblocks to digital transformation.
To address this issue, many organisations are doubling down on their security processes. Cyber security budgets are also increasing by the day but, despite this increased investment and attention, the threat of cyber attacks is still a major concern and major breaches are hardly ever out of the headlines. So, how can organisations overcome these challenges and threats and set themselves up for the benefits to digital transformation?
The security challenge
In 2018 alone, multi-national organisations such as Facebook, Google+, Cathay Pacific and British Airways, who spend huge amounts of money on security, found themselves on the wrong end of high-profile data breaches and hacks. This suggests that we need to take another look at current methods of securing data.
There is also the issue of managing the threat of internal leaks caused by either disgruntled employees or simple human error. According to a recent survey by Black Hat, a massive 84 per cent of cyber attacks can be attributed to human error that is often very difficult to mitigate or eliminate from the equation.
With data routinely traveling beyond the perimeter of data owners’ networks, the contained enterprise network no longer exists as it once used to. As a result, many have adopted zero-trust solutions charaterised by strict access restrictions. However, many of these solutions were designed for an age when data was produced in limited quantities from a handful of sources, meaning they are unable to effectively deal with vast amount of data being produced multiple sources today. Even when organisations take steps to address weaknesses and potential loopholes, they are often unable to spot them before something unfortunate has happened.
The collaboration challenge
As mentioned earlier, organisations need to be able to collaborate effectively if they are to thrive in today’s data-driven world. However, this presents complications when it comes to ensuring a seamless and secure flow of information, both internally and externally. Not only do organisations have to ensure that different business units can quickly make data-driven decisions, they also have to be able to collaborate with an extensive ecosystem of existing and new global business and commercial partners.
Despite their best efforts, many organisations are simply not equipped to effectively collaborate and share data securely. Using traditional centralised back-end data architectures, it is pretty much impossible to keep track of every primary, secondary, masked version and subsequent uncontrolled copy and share of data, which raises serious concerns following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Enabling successful digital transformation
But how can enterprises overcome the security and collaboration challenge? This is where using distributed ledger technology (blockchain) as the technology that underpins secure and trusted data management plays a part.
Distributed ledger technology allows organisations to retain control of their data no matter who it has granted access to view or amend the data. Businesses can securely share critical data with third parties within a trusted network outside of their perimeter of control, while eliminating the threat of a data breach. This allows organisations to safely and securely collaborate without threat of the data falling into the wrong hands.
A practical example of this is in the HR and payroll sector where distributed ledger technology is being used to add an unprecedented infrastructure layer of data access and security, increasing service efficiencies and reducing the possibility of human error. The technology is also freeing employees with heavy volume data processing roles to add value in new ways.
This approach also ensures that the system (and the data contained within) is near impossible to tamper with or corrupt. It creates a single version of the truth that simplifies the seamless flow of assets between multiple parties.
The amount of data generated in the coming years is set to grow exponentially and the key to gaining business advantage from this information will be in managing it in the most effective way. Enabling a seamless and secure flow of data is also not only essential for getting the best out of digital transformation, it unlocks the ability to create real-time value chains and opportunities to continuously meet increasing expectation.
This article was written by Reuben Thompson, the Vice President for Technology at Gospel. He joined Gospel from Experian Marketing Services, where he was most recently responsible for the software development and product management functions for the Alchemy Social, Promote and Intelligent Audiences product lines. Prior to that, he worked for a VAR, where he was in charge of e-commerce and internal line of business applications. Across these roles, Reuben gained extensive experience of managing large-scale software projects, scalable, distributed, service-oriented software architectures, and how to satisfy complex and divergent compliance requirements (FCA, PCI, etc).
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